news 23 Jul 13

Bosniak MPs Veto Adoption of ID Law

Bosniak lawmakers in the Bosnian Parliament blocked adoption of the ID number law, saying the 'urgent procedure' endangered their vital ethnic interests.

Elvira M. Jukic
BIRN
Sarajevo

The caucus of Bosniak MPs in Bosnia's House of Peoples, one of two chambers of parliament, on July 23 invoked the constitutional mechanism of saying their vital ethnic interests were endangered to block adoption of a long-awaited law on ID numbers.

Bosniak MPs said they objected to the law proposed by the government and adopted by the other chamber of parliament last week because of the decision to adopt it in urgent procedure.

Bosniak MPs said the law was also not in accordance with the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords since the registration areas for issuing ID numbers reflected the borders between Bosnia's two autonomous entities.

Sulejman Tihic, a Bosniak MP, said that changes to the law on personal numbers cannot be adopted except through regular procedures.

“Important laws cannot be adopted in urgent procedures and are a violent act of the ruling majority,” Tihic said.

He said that Bosnia's Constitutional Court, which is to decide on the matter, should return the law to regular procedure so it could have amendments made to it.

Krstan Simic, an MP from the Serbian caucus, said that precisely because the law was important, it should be adopted in an urgent procedure.

“Vital national interests can be endangered by the content of the law, not by the procedure of its adoption,” he said. “Procedures should not be basis of invoking vital national interests.”

The law, already adopted by the government and by parliament's other chamber, envisages registration areas for issuing personal numbers matching the territorial organization of the country and following entity lines.

There will be nine registration areas, three in the mainly Serbian entity, Republika Srpska, five in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and one in Brcko District.

The original law on personal numbers was scrapped by the Constitutional Court in February, which said the names of several municipalities had to be changed.

Parliamentarians have not agreed on a replacement ever since. As a result, newborns have been unable to obtain personal numbers, which are basis for getting key documents such as passports or health care cards.

The logjam caused street protests at the beginning of June when a baby who needed to be transported to Germany for an operation could not leave Bosnia without documents.

The government adopted a temporary measure to allow the issue of personal numbers for six months but the protesters demanded a permanent solution by changes to the law.

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